Posted by Sansone / Lauber Trial Lawyers on November 22, 2013SHARE IT
As a bicyclist, you must be responsible for your safety and assume drivers will not recognize you, especially in their side blind spot. Many bike injuries and deaths are the result of bikes in a tractor-trailer’s blind spot as they make a turn. As a cyclist, you should never allow yourself to be in this position, don’t trust your safety or your life in the hopes a truck driver will check his blind spots for bike riders before he turns.
The video below shows how a dozen cyclists all fit into a big rig’s blind spot. A reminder for why cyclists should not get beside a truck.
This situation often leads to a bike accident called “The Right Hook” which is displayed below and also discussed on our bike injury webpage.
How to avoid this situation? Don’t ride up next to cars and trucks at intersections if you can avoid it. A more difficult situation to avoid is a driver overcoming you before getting to an intersection, placing you in their blind spot as they pass you, then abruptly turning at the approaching intersection and cutting you off. As a cyclist, you must assume drivers will do this, keep an eye ahead of what turns may be approaching and be ready to brake in case a car just ahead of you decides to make that right turn and cut you off.
Who is at fault for Blind Spot Injuries?
Bike accidents occurring in truck or car blind spots are very fact specific and fault is ultimately going to up to a jury based on the specific facts of your case. Factors our bike accident attorneys immediately investigate:
- Configuration of the roadway or intersection where the injury occurred;
- Existence of bike lanes or road signs warning drivers of bike routes;
- Did driver overcome the cyclist before turning or did cyclist ride up next to the truck while stopped;
- Witnesses to the bike accident, and their biases towards cyclists;
- Training of the truck driver and safety equipment on the truck (type of side mirrors, any cameras?)
If the truck driver overcomes the cyclist and then turns while they are in their blind spot then in most situations that is the driver’s fault. If the cyclists is stopped for an intersection light and the truck pulls up next to (no behind) the cyclist and places them in the truck’s blind spot and turn striking the bike rider, then almost always the truck driver’s fault.
Where these cases become very tricky is when the cyclist pulls up next to the truck (not behind) while it is sitting at a red light or stop sign. The cyclist arguably placed themselves into the truck driver’s blind spot, however, the truck driver has some responsibility to make a safe turn. Factors very important to determining fault in these cases include:
- Was the cyclist in a bike lane or just on the road or its shoulder?
- Did the truck have its turn signal or blinker on? or could the bike rider have reasonably thought the truck was going straight and not turning?
- The timing is very important, at what point did the cyclist pull up next to the truck, while sitting at a stop, just before he started his turn, just after?
- Witness statements about timing, speed, road conditions, etc …
Generally, you need a lawyer with expertise in bike accident cases to successfully handle a claim against a truck driver or a driver of a regular passenger car or SUV. Insurance claims adjusters typically require hard evidence that is very bad for their driver before they will offer decent value on your bike injury case. They do this because they know most people, and therefore most likely jurors at trial, do not like bicyclists on the road.
Sansone, Sumner & Lauber’s head bike accident lawyer, Ben Sansone, has not only handled dozens of bike accident cases, he has personally been hit by cars on two occasions, once while on his bike and another time while on his motorcycle. Sansone understands the perspective of the bike rider and motorcyclist and has been through several road bike safety courses.
Call our bike accident lawyers today (314) 863-0500 for a free consultation at our office or a location convenient for you. We have the NO FEE GUARANTEE: You owe nothing unless we win for you!